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How to instantly make money as a videographer (and grow your client base)

Choosing a career in professional videography starts with finding the right path among many within this field of work. What you choose comes down to what you’re willing to put up with and what you enjoy doing.

The video industry is huge and it can sometimes be quite overwhelming to know where to start looking for work. Here are a few different routes people have taken to building up a strong client portfolio in the video production world.

The most important thing you’ll need to work on when looking for new clients is pitching. Regardless of if you’re in the process of scaling your video production company or just starting out. Your pitch (in a nutshell) encompass your ability to understand the clients needs and provide them with a solution to their problem using your skillset.

Just starting out? New to Videography?

If you’ve just graduated in media, video or film and are looking to get some clients under your belt you’ll need to build yourself a solid portfolio. Although, every bit of work should (ideally) be remunerated financially, sometimes it’s worth thinking long-term about what offering a bit of your time and skills to the right client could bring. Offering your services for free, with the long-term strategy of using those projects as case-studies to other future clients will not only help you utilise and improve your skills in videography but also allow you to learn to build relations with businesses. If they like what you’ve done today, they might recommend you to someone they know or call you back for another job.

Once you’ve got some real-world projects under your belt, it’s time to strap up and get paid. By this point you’ll already know what aspects of videography you want to pursue and what aspects you don’t like. With this in mind, you can do one of two things:

1. Look for a regular 9-5 type job - there are a lot of creative agencies, production companies and companies in general who see the value of in-house videographers. The more versatile you are (i.e. the more skills you have such as; editing, camera op, premiere pro, final cut pro x, adobe photoshop etc) the more likely you are to get hired.

2. Go freelance. This might be a daunting prospect as it still leaves you asking the same question you were at square one; who will pay me for my skills? Keep reading.

Making Money as a Freelance Videographer - Here’s some places to find new clients.

You’ve got the equipment and skills you need to make professional videos for clients but you don’t know where to look to start getting/increase your client base?

You may not always be well versed in all areas of videography but the list of niches in this field of work is where you’re most likely to find paying clients:

Weddings films:

A wedding film that is loved by the client is very likely to get you new business through referrals. Many wedding filmmakers start out by offering completely free wedding film ‘gifts’ to people they might know who are getting married or offer their services online (Facebook groups and marketplace is a great place to connect with all sorts of people looking for services). If you’ve already started building up a portfolio of wedding films and are looking to increase your clients - you’ll need to make sure that you’re marketing your portfolio and little snippets of your work to the potential clients via social media (Facebook and Instagram) as well as setting up your own website to allow for bookings. More on scaling below.

Oh, you should also try having a stand at a wedding salon or dropping flyers or business cards in places such as wedding dress boutiques or get your details in to wedding directories.

Music Videos:

We’ve all been to a gig or two. We all have a friend who is in a band (or know someone who knows someone in a band). Up and coming musicians and bands are always looking to invest in music videos, especially in 2019 where video content creation has gone crazy! Jump on to Google and search for local bands. Find them on social media and follow them (not literally… that might be illegal). You could reach out to them proposing your services (and complimenting their music) or if you’re feeling very entrepreneurially creative, then you could turn up to their gig and shoot a short promo whilst you’re there and then tag them in it to grab their attention.

Corporate videos:

We all know that getting corporate video jobs can sometimes be a lot of effort and end up in a tedious and uninspiring project - but it can pay the bills!

So, how does one go about getting a corporate video client? Well, you’ll need to surround yourself with people who work in companies - and ask around if they do videos? And if that’s something they’re looking for. There are lots of business networking events that happen in every city on a weekly basis, try going to one and introducing yourself. You can also Google local companies around you and find out what kind of video work they’ve had done before (if any) and then pitch to them.

Brand videos:

Brand videos don’t always have to mean big brands. As video has become hugely popular, there’s a massive market for videographers to produce content for up and coming brands. It might be worth finding out if there are any startup incubators or hubs in and around your area. These are great places to meet new companies looking for brand or product video marketing for Instagram, Facebook and many other digital platforms.

Here are some more types of video work you can pick up:

- Live event coverage

- High School Sports events showreel

- Tutorials and video courses

- Real Estate

Scale your business - Getting more video production clients:

Once you’ve got the client work coming in and your schedule is looking healthy, you want to start driving higher-ticket clients to your work so that you can work less for more money. In order to do this, you’ll need to start looking at building a strong brand identity on your website and social media channels. Constantly post content to your social channels and share that content in Facebook videography and filmmaking groups. The more you can get your work out there, the more likely someone is to spot your talent or recommend someone to you.

Another key step in scaling is building a strong SEO ranking. You don’t have to be an SEO genius to know that the more other websites link out to your website, the higher volume of traffic you’ll start getting (and you’ll be ranked as more relevant to certain keywords). For example, if you’re a wedding filmmaker with a website, then you’d want to make sure that you’re trying to get all the blogs and websites that engage high website traffic from people who are preparing for their wedding, to link out from their website to you somehow. There’s lots of ways in which you can do this - by simply showing them your work and hoping they’ll like it enough to mention you or you could get more collaborative/creative with your approach and potentially offer a discount/free giveaway as part of trying to create a long term relationship that will help funnel their visitors to your website.

No matter what stage you’re at in your journey of being a professional videographer, there’s always new ways of growing your client base. If you’ve got any tips and tricks on how you have grown your video production or film business, please feel free to share your experience with us. We’d love to hear from you.